Saturday, 7 December 2013

Romance, love and violence at Times Literary Carnival

Tread softly, Breathe peacefully, Laugh hysterically  (Nelson Mandela) 

The power of words can be immense, and as a symbol of that, Nelson Mandela was honored also here in Mumbai. You see, the Times Literary Carnival Festival is now on! That means 3 whole days of sessions, workshops, readings, lectures, book-launches, stalls, entertainment and cafes - all in the venue of Mehboob studios, Bandra. My friend Kiran and I spent the day, in company with fellow readers, writers and book-lovers, exploring different sides of Love, Romance and Violence - which are this year's themes. A great event for Mumbai, and a true inspiration for me personally. Indeed, what a powerful tool words can be!? Here are some moments from our day.

Writer and filmmaker Hanif Kureishi - (included by The Times in " The top 50 British writers since 1945") gave a lovely keynote. I enjoyed how he described how love can be the love from a writer to the story they are telling, and how a romance can be a romance between the reader and the current story they are reading:-) ( And oh crises- we all know what happens when the romance ends right?)  

The festival has several studios and a garden for the sessions. In the middle, there is a large open square - perfect for getting a cup of tea, a bite of something yummy, buying a book, or just hanging out chatting in between the different sessions. A very relaxed atmosphere:-)

The festival has a lot of sessions within a wide range of themes. Who would have thought I would learn so much about Bollywood in the -50's for example? Well, I did - by attending The Flawed Heroine session - on the book about one of the most prominent Hindi actresses Meena Kumari! What a life!
Panel on the Meena Kumari book: Author Vinod Mehta, in discussion with Rachel Dwyer and Mahmood Feroqui. 
The highlight for me was the book launch of "Women of pure wonder". With tears and laughter we listened to some amazing ladies who had very touching stories to tell. We listened to Laxmi, who at the age of 15 was attacked with acid and has now become the symbol of the fight against abuse and attacks on women. We heard the stories of the ex-sheriff of Mumbai, the professor, the sociologist, the top-leader - some of them making their path  - against all odds. And expat-in-India-me really enjoyed and learned a lot from following the debate and discussions on women empowerment. What does it take? Where do we go from here? How to do it? They could have gone on for hours, and I would have haaanged in there! Front row!
The launch of "Women of pure wonder! 
Nandini Sardesai, Priya Dutt, Zarine Screwwala and Indu Shahani.
After the wonder women session, we had to ease our excitement with some ice-tea and Indian sunshine, and then we enjoyed listening to the author Bapsi Sidhwa reading from her book Ice Candy Man (Cracking India) - and sharing anecdotes from the process of making it in to the Deepa Mehta film Earth.

Bombay, the city we lost! - ? well, we had to check out what that was about, right?

So, after Bachi Kakaria's book-launch, Charles Gorrea held a very interesting session, comparing Mumbai to other grand cities - regarding construction of new buildings, city plans, public transportation, parks, green lounges - or more or less - lack of such - and the impact that will have on the people living in the cities.
Charles Gorrea, Bachi Karkaria and Gyan Prakash. 
The festival has a lot of sponsors, and is therefore free of charge. If you are up for some love and romance (and violence - themes..?), and you are in Mumbai, you can still make it! It goes on all weekend! Today and tomorrow -  packed with interesting sessions! Check out the website for detailed schedule!  And if you are not in Mumbai, - well, then maybe next year?

I wish you a continuous wonderful weekend dear reader!

The Times of India Wall - the symbol of the festival:-) 


  1. heard a lot about this event. want to be part of it once. thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Amar - yes, do try - it is very inspiring:-) Best to you:-)

  2. that was a very nice event.. lucky that u could attend it.. have a great weekend..

    1. Thanks dear Smitha:-) Yes, great that I got to go - very inspiring! A lovely weekend to you also:-)

  3. Truly must be amazing to be in midst of such inspirational people dear Eli :) You are one too! :)

    1. Awe - thank you sweet Pallavi:-) Yes, it was amazing:-) Warm thoughts to you:-)


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